The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) is tight-lipped on whether a former informant accused of trafficking three UK teens to become Islamic State extremists has re-entered Canada.
According to the Globe and Mail, sources familiar with the story told the outlet that Mohammed al-Rashed recently left a Turkish prison on Aug. 5 after being held there since 2015 on various charges including terrorism.
Turkey wanted al-Rashed – who was recruited by CSIS as a spy in 2013 – out of their country. al-Rashed was to be sent to Syria or on the other hand released to Canada but now CSIS is refusing to reveal whether he is in Canada.
“As you can expect, CSIS cannot comment on investigations, methodologies or activities in order to maintain the integrity of operations,” CSIS spokesperson Brandon Champagne told the outlet.
“There are important limits to what CSIS can confirm or deny given the need to protect sensitive techniques, methods and sources of intelligence.”
Upon his arrest by Turkish authorities, al-Rashed claimed that CSIS was going to relocate him after he was freed from his sentence. When questioned by reporters, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino also gave a murky response on al-Rashed’s whereabouts.
“For obvious reasons we don’t want elected officials commenting on operations. I would leave it at that. Operational questions are best put to the service,” said Mendicino.
A book by UK author Richard Kerbaj recounts some of al-Rashed’s involvement with Canada’s foremost spy agency.
According to Kerbaj, CSIS didn’t disclose how al-Rashed was involved in smuggling three teenage girls aged between 15 and 16 from the UK into Syria to join the Islamic State.
“You always try to protect your sources and your agents and you don’t abandon them. It also stands up with what al-Rashed said, because he said that he was promised relocation,” claimed Kerbaj in his book.
“If they have agreed on his relocation and gone through with it, that is admirable and honourable. On the other hand, it confirms the cover-up and confirms their role.”
“Instead of providing that information immediately to the British counterterrorism authorities, they just sat on it.”
Lawyer Tasnime Akunjee representing the three girls has since called on the Canadian government to hold an inquiry into what exactly happened after two of the girls are believed to have died while abroad.